L A T E S T      N E W S

Constitution does not stop CM from protesting: Kejriwal 

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who faced flak for his protest in the heart of the Capital, on Saturday said the Constitution does not prevent the Chief Minister from holding a dharna.

“I read the Constitution, couldn’t find anywhere that a Chief Minister cannot hold dharna,” he said.

He also charged that “the media is getting paid to do negative stories on AAP.”

In his Republic Day address at Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi, Kejriwal said the Jan Lokpal Bill is almost ready and will be passed at a special session at the Ramlila Maidan in February.

Holding that security of women in the national Capital is “highly compromised”, he said the government has formed a committee under the Chief Secretary for the formation of ‘Mahila Suraksha Dal’ in the city.

“Women’s security in the national Capital is highly compromised. It is our utmost duty and priority to provide security to women. We have formed a committee under the Chief Secretary for formation of a Mahila Suraksha Dal,” he said.

“They will provide security to women. We will have retired Army personnel, police and home guards as members of the suraksha dal,” he said.

Kejriwal also said the committee under the Chief Secretary will make provisions to ensure that rapists are sent to jail within 3 to 6 months. — PTIBack












Bharti lashes out at media, Delhi Commission for Women

NEW DELHI: In the eye of a storm, controversial Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti today accused the media of taking money from Narendra Modi and slammed the Delhi Commission for Women.

Bharti, who had chosen to attend a kite-flying festival instead of appearing before the Delhi Commission of Women yesterday after he was summoned for the midnight "raid" episode, charged that the Women's Commission is "political".

Attacking DCW chief Barkha Singh, he said, "Barkha Singh is a Congress member... she should have resigned herself after her government's term ended".

Terming all the reports against him as false, the Law Minister threatened, "They are trying to defame me, I am going to take them to the court." However, it was not clear who he was referring to.

As reporters continued to question him over the controversy surrounding him, he accused them of taking money from the Gujarat Chief Minister.

"How much money have you received from Modi?" he shot back.

However, he later backtracked and apologised after being criticised for the comment.

"I didn't mean to say that and if anybody is hurt I would like to apologise to them," he said.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Harsh Vardhan used the opportunity to attack Kejriwal on the issue.

"Now, if the media starts conveying to the people the indecent behaviour and the violation of laws and norms by his own Law Minister, why does he becomes so narrow minded that he starts abusing the very same media who had given him so much praise in the last few years," he said.

DCW had yesterday summoned Bharti following allegations that the Delhi minister led a group of AAP workers who misbehaved with a number of African women on the pretext of a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution ring in South Delhi last week.

The Law Minister was asked to depose before the commission to explain the charges against him but he sent his lawyers who said he was absent due to "some urgencies".

Bharti's lawyers and the Commission chief Singh, a former Congress MLA, had a public confrontation at the DCW office after she refused to allow them to present the minister's response.

The Aam Aadmi Party had yesterday said in a statement that it "strongly disapproved of the politicisation of the office of the Delhi Commission for Women by its chairperson". — PTI










Jadeja helps India tie 3rd ODI against New Zealand

Auckland: Ravindra Jadeja nearly pulled off a sensational victory with some lusty hits but could not take India home in the last over as the third one-dayer against New Zealand ended in a nail-biting tie to keep the visitors afloat in the five-match series here today.

Chasing New Zealand's stiff target of 315 largely built around opener Martin Guptill's 111, India came back from the dead to tie the game, riding on R. Ashwin's 65 and Jadeja's 45-ball unbeaten 66 to save themselves the blushes of another overseas ODI series defeat.

In the thrilling dying moments of the game, India needed 18 off Corey Anderson's last over for a victory but Jadeja and last man Varun Aaron could get 17 to tie the game on a good batting track at the Eden Park.

The visitors needed just two runs off the last ball but Jadeja could manage just a single. Though India could not win the match, they can still draw the five-match series by winning the remaining two matches in Hamilton (January 28) and Wellington (January 31).

The tie also ensured that India remained in the number one position in the ICC ODI rankings, having regained it yesterday following Australia's defeat to England in the fourth one-dayer.

Put into bat for the third time in a row, New Zealand piled up 314, with Guptill scoring his fifth ODI century and useful contributions from Kane Williamson (65) and Luke Ronchi (38). The score could have been much bigger had there not been not a minor collapse towards the end of the innings, which pegged the Kiwis back to some extent.

The Indians got off to a fairly good start but Shekhar Dhawan (28) and Rohit Sharma (39) again squandered the start to let the team down badly.

The quick dismissals of the in-form Virat Kohli (6) and Ajinkya Rahane (3) served as a huge jolt for the visitors who suddenly slumped to 79 for four from 64 for no loss.

Captain Dhoni (50) and Suresh Raina (31) stitched 67 runs for the fifth wicket to keep India in the hunt. Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja than put on 85 runs for the seventh wicket to raise hopes of a stunning victory. 

Brief scores:

New Zealand: 314 all out in 50 overs (Martin Guptill 111, Kane Williamson 65; Varun Aaron 3/52).

India: 314 for nine in 50 overs (R. Ashwin 65, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 50, Ravindra Jadeja 66 not out; Corey Anderson 5/63). — PTIBack











Li overwhelms Cibulkova to claim Australian Open

MELBOURNE: China's Li Na weathered a feisty challenge from Dominika Cibulkova before roaring to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 victory to win the Australian Open on Saturday.

Struggling with her serve and an errant forehand in a tight first set, the fourth seed Li found her range in devastating fashion to notch six straight games on a cool, breezy night at Rod Laver Arena. 

At 31, Li became the oldest woman to win the Australian Open, surpassing Margaret Court's 1973 title at the age of 30. 

Cibulkova gave up two match-points when the Slovakian pushed a backhand long and saved one of them when Li did likewise, but crumbled on the second to give the Chinese her second grand slam title after winning the 2011 French Open.

Runner-up in 2011 and last year, Li raised her hands in the air in triumph and after shaking hands with her opponent, went straight to her player's box to embrace her coach Carlos Rodriguez.

After a nervous start for both players, Li was the first to settle and unleashed a blistering backhand down the line to gain a break point in the opening game against the pint-sized 20th seed who promptly double-faulted on the next point.

Under pressure from the counter-punching Cibulkova, Li notched two double-faults in a row to be broken back and Cibulkova held with a big serve to move 4-3 ahead.

The fourth seed Li broke Cibulkova twice and had set point on serve at 6-5 but the feisty 20th seed survived to take the opener into a tiebreaker.

The temperamental Chinese found her range in time to roar to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak but Cibulkova marshalled her defences with aplomb, scrambling to chase down everything and pulled back to 5-3. Li then blasted a huge return to earn three more set points but only needed one of them when Cibulkova netted a backhand.

The spell broken, Li wound up a huge forehand down the line to bring up breakpoint and closed it out when Cibulkova pushed long to lead 2-0.

Growing in confidence, Li began to swing at everything and broke Cibulkova again to lead 4-0 before completing an emphatic victory in her third Melbourne Park final.Back









Power tariff cut demand: Nirupam threatens self-immolation

MUMBAI: AICC general secretary Sanjay Nirupam on Saturday threatened to immolate himself if his demand for reduction in power tariff in Mumbai was not accepted.

Talking to reporters outside the Reliance Energy office in Kandivali, where he is on a hunger strike, Nirupam said he would immolate himself outside Reliance ADA group chief Anil Ambani's house, if his demand was not met.

Nirupam wants Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to announce audit of all power companies supplying electricity to Mumbai.

He said his fast has entered the third day and his health was good.

"Sugar levels are fluctuating but I will continue with my hunger strike," the MP from Mumbai North said, adding that he would continue his agitation till the demand was met.

Mumbai suburbs guardian minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan, city Congress president Janardhan Chandurkar and senior leader Kripashankar Singh visited Nirupam at the fast site and offered their support.

Mumbai was excluded from the recent government's decision of 20% cut in power tariff charged to domestic consumers, industries and powerlooms by the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran).

The state Cabinet had last week decided that the concession of 20 per cent power tariff cut would be applicable to consumers with consumption of less than 300 units.

The reduction in power tariff will not be applicable in the metropolis where players are other than MahaVitaran supply power. Mumbai consumers get power supply from Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking. — PTIBack











Democracy dead in DMK, says Alagiri

CHENNAI: Stung by the DMK move to suspend him, former Union Minister M. K. Alagiri today charged that democracy was dead in the party and questioned why no action was taken against his younger brother M. K. Stalin's supporters for pasting posters hailing him as future party president.

Alagiri said he was being "rewarded" for seeking justice on certain allegations made by some workers regarding internal elections in the party headed by his father M. Karunanidhi.

He said he had taken up the matter with the party high command which promised a probe but did not act.

"Democracy is dead in the party. On January 31, I will meet the press in Madurai and submit proof (about alleged irregularities in internal polls)," he told reporters here.

When it was pointed out that he had been suspended for "creating confusion", he shot back saying if pasting posters supporting him was wrong, the same yardstick should be applied to Stalin and his supporters also.

"Is it wrong to paste posters supporting me. They (Stalin's supporters) describe him as future Chief Minister and even future party president when the party president (Karunanidhi) is alive," he said and asked why no action has been initiated against his brother's supporters.

Asked if he had been suspended for not accepting Stalin's leadership, he said he did not know that but added the action against him was planned one.

He reiterated that he will not contest the coming Lok Sabha polls or field rival candidates to DMK, saying "the party will lose by itself." Cracking the whip, DMK had yesterday suspended Alagiri from all party posts and primary membership, telling him that his opposition to DMK-DMDK alliance is not going be taken lightly.

Announcing Alagiri's suspension, party general secretary K. Anbazhagan charged Alagiri with asking party workers not to work, criticising disciplinary action taken against certain DMK members, "directly involving in improper discussions", and thus "creating confusion." 

Asked if Alagiri's suspension would affect DMK and its poll prospects in particular, Karunanidhi had replied in the negative, while Stalin denied any rift with his elder brother and described the action as a party affair. PTIBack











Tight security across Punjab, Haryana for Republic Day

CHANDIGARH: Tight security arrangements have been made across Punjab, Haryana and their joint capital Chandigarh in view of the Republic Day tomorrow.

Vulnerable places, including the Parade Ground where the Republic Day function will be held, dams, bus stands, railway stations and government building, are under tight security in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, officials said here today.

An alert has been sounded in the two states in view of the eve of Republic Day with the police and para- military personnel manning key public places, they said.

While Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will unfurl the Tricolour at Ludhiana, his Haryana counterpart Bhupender Singh Hooda will be the chief guest at a state- level function at Nuh in Mewat district of the state.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Governor will take salute from parade at Patiala, his Haryana counterpart Jagannath Pahadia will unfurl the flag at Gurgaon.

All check- posts along the inter-state borders on Punjab and Haryana, too, have been put under maximum alert, the officials said.

Services of dog and bomb squads have been taken to sensitise the vulnerable places across Punjab and Haryana. Vehicles, entering into the towns, are also being checked, while hotels are under observation of the security forces, they said. — PTIBack











Indian-American physiotherapist sentenced to 10 years in jail

NEW YORK: An Indian-American physiotherapist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $ 10 million in restitution for his role in a multi- million dollar healthcare fraud and money laundering scheme.

Chiradeep Gupta, 39, of Michigan was sentenced by US District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan.

In addition to the 120-month prison term, Gupta was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $ 10 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement yesterday.

Gupta, a physiotherapist and part-owner of a home healthcare company, was found guilty at trial in October 2012 of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three substantive counts of money laundering.

The fraud scheme totaled almost $ 11 million. — PTIBack










Fog disrupts normal life in Punjab, Haryana 

CHANDIGARH: A dense fog today disrupted normal life in most parts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, throwing air, rail and road traffic out of gear even as the minimum temperature settled three degrees Celsius above normal.

A thick blanket of fog enveloped entire Punjab and Haryana with visibility limits reducing to just 200 meters in the region, the MeT office said here, adding that the twin agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana would continue to face foggy conditions tomorrow.

However, the minimum temperatures in the region hovered between two to three degrees Celsius above normal, providing some relief to the people from the on-going cold conditions.

While several trains criss-crossing the region ran hours behind schedule, many flights from local airport were either rescheduled or cancelled due to foggy conditions.

Motorists on state and national highways in the region move at snail's pace with headlights on due to poor visibility on account of dense fog, officials said.

In the plains of Punjab and Haryana, Bhiwani was the coldest place with a low of 5.8 degrees Celsius followed by six degrees Celsius at Amritsar, which was three notches above normal.

While Hisar settled at a low of 6.4 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature at Narnaul was 7.6 degrees Celsius, also three notches above normal.

Adampur in Punjab had a low of 6.2 degrees Celsius.

Among other places, Chandigarh had a low of 8.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal followed by 9 degrees Celsius at Ludhiana, two notches above normal, 9.6 degrees Celsius at Karnal, three notches above normal, 9.8 degrees Celsius at Patiala, three notches above normal and 10.2 degrees Celsius at Ambala, also three notches above normal.

At some places in Punjab and Haryana, tripping of power supply and water shortage compounded the problems of the people.

The MeT predicted rise in minimum temperatures in the region and possibility of dense fog and mist tomorrow. — PTIBack




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